On my last day based in Lagos, I decided to explore the West Coast. I headed out with a basic plan – go to Sagres and Cabo De Sao Vicente. As with most of my travel plans, it was more like an “outline”!
My first stop was Sagres where I was going to visit the Sagres Fortress. When I arrived, there was a race going on so the roads were partially blocked off at times and the runners were running through the fortress. It was a 10k race and it added a something a bit different.
The fortress is pretty impressive and was built in the 17th century and sits in an area that extends out into the ocean – able to look out toward Cabo De Sao Vicente on the western side and back toward the town and beach.
As you walk around the fortress, you can take a path that takes you all around the circumference (OK – it’s not really round….more like the outer edges) and you get some great views of the cliffs and ocean. What struck me was the fishermen that were standing on small ledges fishing – not on the top, some had climbed down to small perches. I’m sorry – that’s just not for me. 🙂
Within the grounds there is a nice little chapel and an interesting “opening” where you can walk on a deck and see the waves washing in through the crack. The water comes in from a cave below near the water level. There is an old compass that is in the middle of the “plaza” and you can climb on the front walls to get a better view.
Overall, it was a very pleasant way to spend a few hours just walking along the perimeter enjoying the view. After leaving the fortress, I drove a bit further west and stopped at another small fortress (doesn’t show up on any of the tour books) that I spotted while driving. It wasn’t open to look inside, but you could walk along the cliffs to take on some great views.
Continuing with the drive west, I finally arrived at Cabo De Sao Vicente where I was able to enjoy some more beautiful views of the coast – and the famous lighthouse.
At this point, I still had a lot of time left in my day and my “plan” was pretty much done. Time to turn to the “outline”. I had picked up a small map at my apartment – the “Good Times Guide to the West Coast”. This map had some small inset photos and one of them was a small town named Pedralva. The photo made it look like a quaint small town and it was sort of en route to Carrapateira – another small inset photo that showed an interesting beach. I got back in my car, and figured out a route to Pedralva.
Upon arriving in Pedralva I realized that it was more like a small hotel town than an actual town. The town (village?) was pretty much two streets running parallel to the main road with a couple of small alleys. There was a restaurant (part of the hotel Aldeia da Pedralva) where I enjoyed a good lunch made up of local game sausage served over spinach, fries, and a fried egg. Of course, it was washed down with some local beer.
Exploring the small streets was a feast to the eyes and I got my first glimpse at a small Portuguese village – something I’ll experience again several times and just couldn’t get tired of.
Back in my car and off to Carrapateira and the beach at Amado. Carrapateira is also a small town – an actual town – and I parked and started to explore again. Narrow streets, steep climbs, stairs – something that would become second nature throughout this trip.
In reality, it’s not exactly a tourist destination, but it was on the way to the beach which is where I headed next. Upon arriving I was not disappointed – the surf, the view, and the sun low in the horizon were incredible.
After enjoying the views of the beach for a while, I got back in my car and drove back to my apartment where I packed and got ready to leave Lagos in the morning and head to Monsaraz.